Wow. That’s a harsh statement.
I bet it caught your eye. I know it caught my attention when I read it in scripture.
I’ve been listening to the Psalms as I fall asleep at night. It’s been a wonderful change in my routine that has allowed me to fall asleep faster and I think even sleep better; at least it seems so.
Last night the first Psalm I listened to was Psalm 118. Verse 8 states:
At first glance, I think those of us who believe would say “Of course it is better to take our refuge in God rather than man”. But do we fully understand the implications of what this verse means?
It’s easier to say than to do.
Why is this? We know that man (or woman) are just that–human. We put our trust in them–our friends, our authorities, our families and others, and then we are disappointed or incredibly hurt when they do not live up to our expectations. Or they hurt us.
I have shared here many, many times how wonderful my church and community has been in being my support group. I know if I needed anything, they wouldn’t hesitate to try to help me out. I don’t know how many times I’ve been rescued in my vehicles that continually break down alongside the road. Or how many times we’ve been down to no money and no food and someone has dropped groceries off for us.
And my children trust in me to care for them, to provide for them, to protect them, even though I’ve failed them many times.
But we are told that we are not to take our refuge in them. We are not to place our trust in man.
But I, too, have placed my trust in man (and woman) at times, and have been very hurt. What I thought was safe was not safe. What I thought was true was not true.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord.
I spent some time today studying what that looks like–what it really means to put one’s self under the refuge of the Lord. In doing so, I came across another Psalm that struck me in the soul. It’s Psalm 62. Here’s part of it:
3 How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
I think this Psalm beautifully encompasses the exhortation to put our trust in God, not man. Read it through slowly. Think on it. Notice the use of language and words: “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”
“He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
So, this is where I landed today. And maybe where you need to land as well. I am to trust in Him at all times. Not just when things are going great and I can sense His presence strongly, but also in those times when I do not sense Him and find myself tempted to trust myself or someone else above God. That’s idolatry. That is sin.
Pour out your heart before Him–for He alone sees and knows. He alone hears all and cares.
I’ll close with this story. In Hawaii there is a place called Pu’uhonua o Honaunau. It is a City of Refuge. Read it’s description here:
The historical park preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century,Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the ancient laws) could avoid certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or puʻuhonua. The offender would be absolved by a priest and freed to leave. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could also find refuge here during times of battle
I’ve only been there one time…I went by myself. It was a day when there were very few people around. As I walked the ancient grounds and listened to the trade winds rustling the palm trees there was this profound sense of peace and safety. It was so tangible that I could nearly touch it. This was after I had become a believer….and also after my ex-husband had been placed in Jail. As I sat out on the promontary, and looked out at the vastness of the sea, I knew God was my refuge. My strength. My help in time of trouble.
But oh, how easily we forget this. How easily I forget it.
City of Refuge
“Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.